Advent Expectations - 'Doing What's Expected' is the theme of Mass live from Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge. Preacher: Fr Father Benedict Jonak OP; Celebrant: The Rector, Monsignor Peter Leeming; Director of Music: Nigel Kerry; Producer: Philip Billson.
Advent is a time of expectation. The Biblical texts are filled with anticipation of the coming Messiah, promises of hope for the future, and expectations of the Second Coming of Christ. It's a time that we're called on to question what's expected of us and reflect upon what we can expect from God. As we prepare for Christmas our hearts are filled with expectations, which may or may not be fulfilled. And we are also reminded that God does not show His love for us in the way we expect; rather than making a great and triumphant entry into the world, he comes to us as a tiny, vulnerable child.
The readings in the Lectionary for this Sunday are all about what's expected of God's Children and what they are to expect from God. We are expected to love one another, to be blameless and to remain alert. In return we can expect that God will fulfil his promise to bring forth a branch of David and restore Jerusalem; he will remain steadfast in love and faithfulness and the Song of Man will come to us with all the saints.
Sunday Worship - Our Lady of the English Martyrs - 02/12/12
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This script cannot exactly reflect the transmission, as it was prepared before the service was broadcast. It may include editorial notes prepared by the producer, and minor spelling and other errors that were corrected before the radio broadcast.
It may contain gaps to be filled in at the time so that prayers may reflect the needs of the world, and changes may also be made at the last minute for timing reasons, or to reflect current events.
BBC RADIO 4
Advent Sunday – 2nd December 2012
Sung Mass from The Church of Our Lady & the English Martyrs, Cambridge
‘Advent Expectations: Doing what’s expected’
Celebrant: Monsignor Peter Leeming – Rector
Preacher: Father Benedict Jonak OP
Deacon: The Reverend Andrew Neate
Director of Music: Nigel Kerry
Organist: Christopher Moore
Producer: Philip Billson
Monsignor Peter Leeming
‘Behold the Lord will come, and all his holy ones with him. On that day
a great light will appear, alleluia.’ I bid you welcome to this imposing example of the 19th Century Gothic Revival, with its 65 metre spire visible for miles around Cambridge. You join the congregation assembled here for the celebration of Mass on this Advent Sunday.
In the midst of the frenzied gallop to Christmas, the Church invites us to
to watch and wait, to be steady and still in holy expectation for the God
who comes. For in these precious days of Advent we not only look back
to his first coming in the womb of Mary, we also ask for the grace to recognise
his presence now - alive in word and sacrament, living in friend and stranger.
In the Eucharist we turn our gaze ‘to him who is to come’ - as with joyful hope
and eager longing we partake of this food that makes us live for ever in Jesus.
To help us ponder these truths more deeply we welcome as our preacher
Father Benedict Jonak, a member of the Dominican community here in
Cambridge and ministering in our parish.
So let us go up to the Altar of the Lord, as with joyful expectancy we raise
our prayer of longing and hope – ‘Amen! May grace come and this world
pass away.’ Come Lord Jesus, come!
Hymn – Come thou long expected Jesus
Music: Cross of Jesus, John Stainer (1840-1901)
Words: Charles Wesley
Kyrie/Christe Eleison (from the Missa Dixit Maria by Hassler)
Liturgy of the Word
The First Reading
A reading from the first letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians
May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one
another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he
so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of
our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.
Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make
more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live;
the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living
it. You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of
the Lord Jesus.
The Word of the Lord
(All) Thanks be to God
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke
Glory to you, O Lord
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and
stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean
and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for
the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to
take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is
near at hand.
‘Watch yourselves, of your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery
and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will spring on you
suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face
of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all
that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’
The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ
Father Benedict Jonak OP
Imagine the end of the world happens now.
Imagine you will never taste again that favourite chocolate of yours.
Imagine you will never enjoy again that holiday in Provence.
Imagine you are not going to see your children go to school or university or start their own families. It all sounds pretty miserable, doesn’t it?
The theme of Radio 4’s Advent services this year is ‘Advent Expectations.’ We all have certain expectations at this time of year. Today in the Gospel Christ is speaking about his second coming, which will, by definition be unexpected in its suddenness. It will bring
an end to the world as we know it. The whole of creation will be renewed – ‘your liberation is near at hand’.
But if I asked you what is Advent all about, the most common answer would probably be that it is about getting ready for Christmas. Doing what’s expected at this time of year. But it is also about getting ready for the Second Coming of the Lord.
I am sure that there are many people all over the world - people who perhaps live a less
fortunate life than we do in Western Europe, - people who would welcome the end of the world now and here. Yes, the end of the world means an end to the good experiences we have, but that picture is not complete: the end of things as we know them also means the end to stress at work or unemployment; it means the end of wars, end of persecutions, end of injustice, end of diseases and hunger. As St Paul says: the whole of creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth until now; and it will be raised up, will be restored when Christ comes back (cf Rom 8:22).
We all love Christmas with its familiar and warm atmosphere, and many of us naturally find the contrary idea distinctly uncomfortable -
It’s difficult to face the idea that the world as we know it is coming to end.
Then Advent, instead of being a solemn and joyful vigil, may become a kind of falsely therapeutic season for us, and loose it’s deeper hope and promise.
But if we find ourselves thinking in this way, - especially if we are leading a reasonably happy or successful life - we might come to the conclusion that we don’t really want Christ to come. Or if we do want him to come, let him come after all our plans have been exhausted. Let him come after we’ve enjoyed all we wanted to enjoy in this world. Let him come, sure, but not too soon; not just yet.
It’s not as if Christians are not called to enjoy life. There are always seasons of feasting after those of fasting. Of course we are called to take pleasure in God’s creation! And I certainly do not want you suddenly to decide you are all abandoning the world in contempt and become hermits.
But today in the Gospel the Lord warns us not to become too attached to the world “lest our hearts be weighed down” with cares and too much attachment to the beautiful and good things that he himself created.
It is ok to shop or enjoy what you eat or what you have - but remember, that the Lord made you to share his life with you and to share what you have with others.
It is our pleasure and duty to love and honour and enjoy our family and friends - but
remember that the Lord made you so that your heart finds true peace in him alone. As our hearts are filled with the expectation of the promised coming of Christ; we are also told what God expects of us in return; that you love him with all your heart.
This is all because the Son of God has done the unimaginable for us - he became one of
us so that we may share life with God. Who would settle for anything less than that?
So when you pray, and you ask for his blessing, or health and well being, do not forget to pray for what is most important - which is God himself and seeing his face.
In this year, which Pope Benedict has declared the “Year of Faith”, many of us are seeking to refresh our faith so that our witness is stronger.
Let us start here, by asking the Lord to give us the longing for him, a desire to see him in the flesh.
Strengthened by this longing we can stay alert and be ready for his coming.
Strengthened by this longing we can see him coming to us in every person we meet, in
order that we shall not overlook him when he really comes.
The liturgies of Advent are important here with their special readings from Scriptures. We hear and sing about the prophets waiting for the Saviour, about John the Baptist’s
preparing his way and about the Mother of Jesus who carries within her heart all that
longing for God that the prophets spoke about. Here in our church and in other (Catholic) churches we see special Advent decorations and purple vestments that remind us of the preparation for the coming of Christ as Lord and Saviour. We need all that because they help us to learn how to long for God. We need all that because we are only human and need to be shown where to direct our hearts, how to live in joyful hope and how to hope for God. One of my favourite writers, Antoine de Sain-Exupery writes:
If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign
them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the
Our daily tasks mustn’t delay our preparation for the Lord’s coming, for he comes everyday and is here now. And we can recognize him in those we meet and serve, in the preaching of the word and the breaking of bread.
Let us profess the faith of the Church:
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
He descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen
Prayer of the Faithful
With expectancy and hope we now raise our prayers to Him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near.
For the strengthening of the Church in holiness during this Advent season [[and throughout this Year of Faith]]: that with one voice we will all glorify the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray to the Lord:
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us
That justice will spring up before the nations through the integrity of those in public office. For peace in the holy land, and in all places of conflict and war. We pray to the Lord:
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us
For those burdened by sickness, depression and stress, for the lonely and bereaved:
may the Prince of Peace bring them true comfort, light and rejoicing. We pray to the Lord.
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us
That the prayers we voice in our hearts will be united with those of Our Lady of Walsingham, the English Martyrs and all the saints in light, we pray to the Lord:
Lord graciously hear us
Hear our prayers O God
as we wait in joyful expectation for the coming of your Son -
the light of the nations and the glory of your holy people.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Offertory Hymn – Hills of the North Rejoice
Tune: Little Cornard, Martin Shaw (1875-1958)
Words: Charles E Oakley (1832-65)
The Liturgy of the Eucharist
Communion Motet: Rorate Caeli – Guerrero
Concluding Rite and Solemn Blessing
Hymn - Hark what a sound, and too divine for hearing
Words: Frederick William Henry Myers, 1867
Organ Voluntary: Chorale Prelude on ‘Nun komm’ der Heiden Heiland’ (BWV 661) J.S.Bach